Sadler’s Joy Begins Season In Saturday’s Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes

The following appeared in bloodhorse.com on March 1st. Sadler’s Joy, a Woodslane Farm (The Plains, VA) homebred, will kick off his 2018 season at Gulfstream this Saturday March 3rd. He’ll compete in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (Gr. 2) along with Virginia-bred One Go All Go. The race is part of a stakes filled program at Gulfstream, which plays host that day to a key Derby prep — the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Gr. 2). The Mac Diarmida is scheduled as the 13th race at 5:34 PM. The Fountain of Youth is Race 14. 

While his seasonal debut will take place about a month later this year compared with last year, Sadler’s Joy will return to Gulfstream Park for the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2T) March 3.

A year ago, Sadler’s Joy began his campaign—a season that saw the son of Kitten’s Joy  nail down a grade 1 win—at Gulfstream, where he delivered a pair of quality efforts. He missed by a head in the W. L. McKnight Handicap (G3T) in late January before he narrowly won the Pan American Stakes (G2T) in April for his first stakes victory.

SHEA: Sadler’s Joy Wins Pan American at Wire

This year, Woodslane Farm’s homebred will begin his 5-year-old campaign Saturday in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida, where he’ll start from the inside in an expected field of 12 older horses.

Sadlers Joy won the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in April, 2017. Picture courtesy of Coglianese Photos.

“It was either this or the Pan American, and we’re ready for both. The horse is doing well,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “It looks like he’s ready to make his first start this year. He’s been training really well, and he’s ready to go. He actually runs well off the layoff. He showed that last year, so I would expect to see him come back as strong as he did last year, when he made his first start back.”

In August, Sadler’s Joy rallied to victory in the Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course. He enters his 5-year-old season with five wins from 14 starts and earnings of more than $1.2 million, after he closed 2017 with a fourth-place finish in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T).

ANGST: Sadler’s Joy Rallies to Sword Dancer Victory

Albertrani won the Mac Diarmida in 2014 with Twilight Eclipse, a grade 1-winning multi-millionaire who set the world record for 1 1/2 miles on grass in the 2013 Pan American (2:22.63).

“It’s been great having a horse like him in the barn,” Albertrani said of Sadler’s Joy. “We’ve been very lucky in the past with some other horses going long on the grass, like Twilight Eclipse and Brilliant Speed, and a couple of others. The horse ran extremely well last year and (was) narrowly beaten in the Breeders’ Cup. It’s just great having a horse of his caliber in the barn, and hopefully we can have another successful year with him.”

Saturday’s card will offer a similar race for fillies and mares in the $150,000 The Very One Stakes (G3T), a 1 3/16-mile turf test that attracted seven entries.

Starting from the middle will be Stronach Stable’s Holy Helena, who topped males in last year’s Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine. The 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper  tried turf for the first time in her 2018 debut and delivered a narrow victory in a Feb. 4 optional-claiming allowance at Gulfstream.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Holy Helena has won races on dirt, synthetic, and turf. She will aim for her first graded stakes win Saturday.

Entries: Mac Diarmida S. (G2T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, March 03, 2018, Race 13

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 3/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 4 yo’s & up
  • 5:34 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Sadler’s Joy (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 119 Thomas Albertrani
2 Some in Tieme (BRZ) Manoel R. Cruz 119 Kenneth G. McPeek
3 One Go All Go (VA)Keeneland Sales Graduate Chris Landeros 117 Charles L. Dickey
4 Muqtaser (KY) Joe Bravo 119 Kiaran P. McLaughlin
5 Markitoff (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Luis Saez 117 Michael J. Maker
6 Gold Shield (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Irad Ortiz, Jr. 119 Claude R. McGaughey III
7 Bernay (IRE) Tyler Gaffalione 119 Chad C. Brown
8 Patterson Cross (KY) Jose Lezcano 117 William I. Mott
9 Nessy (KY) Javier Castellano 117 Ian R. Wilkes
10 Run Time (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joel Rosario 121 Michael J. Maker
11 Big Bend (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Paco Lopez 123 Thomas F. Proctor
12 Oscar Nominated (KY) Jose L. Ortiz 123 Michael J. Maker